After months of internal debate, the White House permits the Defense Department to sail one ship near a reef in the South China Sea that China claims. Carter says the U.S. has the right to operate near the Chinese structures.
What you read in the newspaper is accurate, but I don’t want to say when, whether or how we operate anywhere in the world. These are operations that we should be conducting normally.
A U.S. airstrike kills Abu Kahlil al-Sudani, a high-ranking commander in al Qaeda, in the southeastern Afghan province of Paktika on the Pakistani border. Al-Sudani was the head of al Qaeda’s suicide and explosive operations and has been directly linked to plans for external attacks against the U.S. Defense Secretary Carter:
This operation underscores the work that . . . all of our forces in Afghanistan do each day to take the fight to al Qaeda. We will continue to counter violent extremism in the region and around the world.
Carter is sworn in as the fourth secretary of defense under President Obama and the 25th overall. He will be contending with spending cuts for the Pentagon. Joe Biden calls Carter:
a thinker and a doer.